We have made it through the night!...
Thank God! As the song goes, 'We've made it through the night!' And our reward in March and April is an audible, visible gear-change of sound, colour and motion as everything begins to kick off with the urgency of a new season - a new food supply brings breeding possibilities and so the 'greatest show on earth' stirs into action. Its time to celebrate and now's the time to get your adrenaline rush with an early spring tonic
What I love about the natural world is that some of the most extraordinary is to be found in the ordinary. Take jenny wren, our most common bird for example. March sees the male wrens become avid property developers, building as many ten nests in order to attract a mate. Typical bloke, he only really builds the main framework, leaving her to line the nest and make it cosy, giving it the proverbial feminine touch. (Refreshingly, and just to challenge our stereotypes, its often the female bird in some species that will be the nest builder). As they say in the building trade, you have to 'speculate to accumulate'. So he has several alternatives to offer, and then when she's happy, and busy with home furnishings, he'll then attempt to maximise his breeding potential by luring another prospective tenant with another enticing 'advert in the local paper', i.e. his impressively big song. For such a small bird, they have a unfeasibly loud voice. For a bird that lurks in the dense patches of undergrowth, its a case of being heard and not seen.
By the end of March and the beginning of April, the dawn chorus is in full swing. A mad male voice choir that is designed to both attract and repel. The songs lay down a marker to other males of the same species, and enable the competitiors to sort it out without resorting to violence, like a modern day poetry slam. The females within earshot will also be attuned to the prowess of these posturing males, and will select from these auditions to see which of them has the required 'X factor'. Its a time of year to leave the window open at night to let this extraordinary performance feed your early morning dreams.
Even though there are now 35million fewer songbirds than 30 yrs ago, at least once this spring, indulge yourself in a dawn chorus. Its a different kind of rock concert I know, and you do have to put the effort in by getting up early. But its a free ticket, and if you go with a friend you'll turn it into an exciting, meaningful musical event you will remember forever.
WildWise's first public events of the year are very soon, timed to make the best of this wonderful time of year. Our season of '7 Wonders of the Wild' begins on April 11th with a Viewing Party' and 'Spring Awakening'on the 15th invites you to indulge in the sights, smells and sounds of Dartington in spring....intoxicating!